January 22, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”—Luke 2:16–20 (NIV)
Perhaps you’ve seen videos of young children on Christmas morning. Whether they were videos of yourself, of your children, or videos you’ve seen on America’s Funniest Home Videos, these moments caught on camera make for incredible laughs and memories.
In one of my Christmas videos when I was about four years old, I was so happy to open up my American Girl doll gifts that I screeched every time I ripped the wrapping paper. Just imagine the astonishment in my voice paired with my speech problem as I exclaimed, “Look! Another one just for me!!!” Even though my family could see what I was opening up right in front of me, my excitement could not be contained! I simply had to reiterate what I got every time I opened a gift. I also could not wait to go back to school and talk about it all with my friends.
There’s something about getting wonderful news or a wonderful gift that makes us want to share it with the world. Joy is contagious because it was meant to be shared. In our Scripture today, we’re reminded of the good news of Jesus’ birth! When the shepherds came to witness for themselves the birth of their Savior, they couldn’t help but spread the word and worship God for all they heard and saw. It all started when the angels appeared to them in the fields. Their understanding of the Messiah could have been a mighty king riding on a chariot with a vast army following him, but upon hearing the angel’s news of this Messiah being born “a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12), they dropped all expectations and went to worship him anyway.
Our expectations can sometimes get in the way of seeing God’s hand in our lives. We forget that He works outside of our boundaries and boxes. I don’t know about you, but there were times when I received a gift at Christmas that I was hoping to be something else and felt very disappointed. I had a hard time hiding it as I forced a smile and slowly said, “Wow! This is so great, thank you!” If the shepherds reacted like this and just moved on with their own lives, they would have missed out on the opportunity to meet, worship, and spread the good news about baby Jesus!
This season, may we not forget the excitement that Christ’s birth brought to those shepherds. May we not shy away from boldly sharing that joy and news with those around us like the shepherds did. May we not forsake worshiping our Savior King regardless of our expectations for how He might act or show Himself in our lives. This season, may we allow the joy of Christ’s incarnation and the confidence in His life on Earth, including His sacrificial death and victorious resurrection, to propel us into deeper worship and more courageous proclamations of His glory.
Pause: Are you as excited to share this good news with others as the shepherds were? Why or why not? What expectations do you have that prevent you from seeing God actually work in whatever way He pleases?
Practice: Share your joy and excitement for the season with someone today. It could be a stranger, a coworker, a friend, a neighbor, or a family member. Share your reason for loving Christmas so much!
Pray: Beautiful Savior, Jesus Christ, You are my King. You are my King even as a baby and a criminal forsaken on that cross. The images that no one would picture when they think of a Savior or a King, but the images You have given us to exhibit Your humility, Your love, and Your grace. May I live in light of Your glorious life. Help me to share You with others today in both my actions and my words. I want to worship You with abandon like the shepherds did. Amen.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.